Lori Vallow, Chad Daybell 'doomsday' murders: A timeline of events

Nancy Grace explores new details on Vallow, Daybell murder case

EastIdahoNews.com news director Nate Eaton joins Fox Nation’s ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ to share possible evidence in relation to the Lori Vallow, Chad Daybell indictment.

Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell were indicted earlier this month in Idaho on murder and conspiracy charges, among others, in connection with the deaths of several people, including Lori’s two children, officials have said. 

The Daybells are at the center of a tangled case that involve several suspicious deaths as well as a bizarre apocalyptic religious belief that prosecutors claim the couple designed to justify the murders of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 49-year-old Tammy Daybell.

Chad and Lori were each indicted by a grand jury last week on multiple counts each of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception, first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder related to the deaths of JJ and Tylee, officials announced Tuesday. 

Prosecutors announced murder charges against Lori Vallow, 46and her husband, Chad Daybell in the deaths of her two children. (Madison County Sheriff’s Office)

Chad also faces a first-degree murder charge for Tammy’s death, and two counts of insurance fraud, while Vallow was also hit with a grand theft charge related to the Social Security benefits for her children, according to court papers shared online by EastIdahoNews.com. 

At one time, Lori Vallow Daybell reportedly believed she was “a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020,” according to divorce documents Charles Vallow, Lori’s estranged husband, filed before his death. Chad Daybell has written several apocalyptic novels based loosely on Mormon religious theology. Both were involved in a group that promotes preparedness for the biblical end-times.

Both Vallow Daybell and Daybell have maintained their innocence. 

While the murder charges might be new, they are only the latest in a bizarre case that dates back to 2018, if not further, and involves other suspicious deaths and alleged co-conspirators, according to court papers, officials and past reports. 

This combination photo of undated file photos shows missing children, Joshua Vallow, left, and Tylee Ryan. (National Center for Missing, Exploited Children via AP, File)

2018

Oct. 26, 2018

The indictment related to this week’s murder charges describes how the complex case began in 2018, when Chad and Lori, who were both still married to other people, began espousing their apocalyptic system of religious belief. The indictment, which was shared online by EastIdahoNews.com, describes how they began to “endorse and espouse” the beliefs from Oct. 26, 2018, through June 9, 2020, “for the purpose of encouraging and/or justifying” the murders of Tylee Ryan and Tammy Daybell.

Meanwhile, Chad allegedly taught the religious beliefs “for the purpose of justifying” the murder of JJ Vallow. 

2019

January 2019 

Charles Vallow calls Gilbert, Arizona, police after he hasn’t heard from the children in two days, according to local news station KUTV. Charles allegedly told police his then-estranged wife threatened his life because he was possessed by someone named “Nick Schneider,” according to the report. 

In police body camera video from the 911 call, which was obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, Charles can be heard telling officers her odd behavior has being going on for four to five years and had “gotten really bad lately.” 

When asked how Lori poses a threat to the children, Charles tells the officer: “I don’t know what she’s gonna do with them. I don’t know if she’s gonna flee with them. If she’s gonna hurt them,” he says. 

July 11, 2019

Family photo: young JJ and Charles Vallow (JJ’s adoptive father, Lori’s fourth husband)
(ID )

Lori Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, shoots and kills Charles Vallow in Arizona, according to multiple reports. Cox allegedly claims the shooting was carried out in self-defense.

Later in the day, neighbors report hearing the sounds of a party at Lori’s home, with “loud music and lots of people swimming,” the Vallows’ property manager says, according to the Post Register. 

Charles was seeking a divorce at the time, saying Lori believed she had become a god-like figure who was responsible for ushering in the biblical end times.

July 30, 2019                                        

According to the indictment, Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow exchange text messages “regarding death percentages for Tammy and JJ.”

Undated text messages between the couple also describe how Tammy Daybell was “in Limbo” and was “possessed by a spirit named Viola,” the indictment alleges.

Aug. 16, 2019

Lori Vallow changes the banking information related to Tylee Ryan’s Social Security benefits, so that any proceeds would be deposited into Lori’s bank account, instead of her daughter’s, the indictment alleges. 

Around Sept. 1, 2019

Vallow moves to Rexburg, Idaho, from Chandler, Arizona, with her brother, Alex Cox, and her two kids, according to the indictment. 

Sept. 8, 2019

Chad Daybell conducts a Google search apparently for wind direction, searching for “ssw wind” and visiting a website called, “What is the definition of SW wind direction?” the indictment alleges.

Tylee Vallow is last seen with her brother, mother and Alex Cox while visiting Yellowstone National Park, according to multiple reports. 

Tylee Ryan holding her brother, JJ Vallow

According to the indictment, Chad and Tammy Daybell sign an application “to increase her LifeMap insurance to the maximum allowed under her policy.”

Sept. 9, 2019

Multiple reports indicate Tylee Ryan is suspected of being killed on this day. 

Alex Cox goes to Lori Vallow’s home around 3 a.m. and is later tracked via cell phone date to Chad Daybell’s property, according to the Post Register. 

Investigators say Chad texted Tammy Daybell, reportedly telling her that he decided to burn some plants and also had shot a raccoon, which he buried in an area of the property where the family had previously buried dead pets, according to the court documents.

The detective said in the documents that he was suspicious because raccoons are normally nocturnal and the text said the animal had been shot during the day.

From Sept. 9, 2019, through Feb. 1, 2020, Vallow collects four Social Security survivors benefits on behalf of her son and four Social Security Child-in-Care payments, indictment alleges. 

Lori Vallow and her son, JJ Vallow

Sept. 18, 2019

Chad Daybell gets a burner phone, the indictment alleges.

Sept. 19, 2019

Lori Vallow’s longtime best friend, Melanie Gibb, visits Lori’s Idaho home from Arizona.

Gibb later told authorities that when she arrived in Rexburg, Lori “informed her that JJ Vallow had become a ‘zombie.’”

“Gibb further reports that the term ‘zombie’ refers to an individual whose mortal spirit has left their body and that their body is now the host of another spirit. The new spirit in a ‘zombie’ is always considered a ‘dark spirit,’” officials said. 

It wasn’t the first time Gibb said she heard her friend talk about zombies, according to the statement. Gibb said Lori Vallow had called Tylee a zombie in spring 2019 when the teen didn’t want to baby-sit her little brother and that Vallow had first learned the concept from Chad Daybell at the start of that year.

Gibb said the couple believed that when a zombie takes over a person’s body “the person’s true spirit goes into ‘limbo’ and is stuck there until the host body is physically killed,” the court document said. “As such, death of the physical body is seen as the mechanism by which the body’s original spirit can be released from limbo.”

Gibb said she was told Tylee was attending school at a nearby college, though investigators later found the teen had never been enrolled. Gibb also said JJ’s behavior appeared to be typical, despite his mother claiming he was acting strangely.

Sept. 22, 2019

The last time Gibb saw JJ was Sept. 22 at Lori Vallow’s apartment, according to authorities. Alex Cox left with his nephew for his apartment nearby, Gibb told police, and when they returned, JJ appeared to be asleep, with his head on Cox’s shoulder.

The next morning, Gibb said JJ was gone and Lori said Cox had taken him for a while, according to the document.

An analysis of Cox’s cellphone records that day show that his phone pinged at locations on Chad Daybell’s property where the children’s remains were later found, police said.

Starting Sept. 25, 2019

From Sept. 25, 2019 through Jan. 22, 2020, Lori Vallow collects at least five Social Security survivors benefits on behalf of her daughter. 

Oct. 8, 2019

From Oct. 8, 2019, through Oct. 12, 2019, Alex Cox allegedly “conducted multiple internet searches” related to “Grendel drop and shooting through a Dodge Dakota,” indictment alleges. Grendel can refer to a kind of ammunition. 

Before Oct. 9, 2019

Alex Cox visits gun range for several months before attempted shooting of Tammy Daybell, the indictment alleges. 

Oct. 9, 2019

Alex Cox obtains a burner phone, the indictment alleges. He travels to the area of the Daybell home from Sportsman’s Warehouse, though the indictment does not indicate what Cox does at the sports store, if anything.

According to EastIdahoNews.com, Tammy Daybell calls police to report a masked man fired a paintball gun at her in the driveway of her Salem home. She later reportedly posted on Facebook about the incident, writing that she did not know why she was targeted, or by whom. 

The indictment identifies Cox as being Tammy’s attempted shooter.

Oct. 18, 2019

Alex Cox is seen approximately 2.5 miles from the Daybells’ residence on the day Tammy died, according to the indictment and EastIdahoNews.com. Chad Daybell reportedly said at the time that Tammy died in her sleep, according to EastIdahoNews.com. 

Tammy dies of what her obituary describes as natural causes, according to reports.

Nov. 5, 2019

According to EastIdahoNews.com, Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell tie the knot in Hawaii just weeks after Tammy Daybell’s death. 

Nov. 26, 2019

JJ Vallow’s grandparents call police to request that officers conduct a welfare check at Lori Vallow’s home, out of concern for JJ, according to EastIdahoNews.com. Lori allegedly tells officers the kids are not home, but lies about where they actually are.

Lori provides a “false and/or misleading physical location of JJ Vallow to law enforcement” during an investigation, the indictment states. 

“They’ve told us several stories about where the children are, but when we investigate, the children don’t exist where they say they should,” Rexburg Police Chief Shane Turman told the news site at the time. “We don’t know where they are at, but we think they are in pretty serious danger.”

The couple leave town before police return the next day, according to reports. 

December 2019

Lori and Chad Daybell move to Hawaii, according to EastIdahoNews.com.

Dec. 11, 2019

Tammy Daybell’s body is exhumed, according to multiple reports, as law enforcement grow suspicious of the circumstances surrounding her death. 

Dec. 12, 2019

Alex Cox, 51, is discovered gasping for breath and vomiting in the bathroom in his Gilbert, Arizona, home, according to EastIdahoNews.com. He is taken to a local hospital but could not be saved. 

Local affiliate FOX 13 Salt Lake City reported that the timing of his death made it seem suspicious. An autopsy found “no obvious signs of trauma to his person or outstanding evidence discovered during the exam,” according to FOX 13. 

Cox’s death was later listed as being caused by “Bilateral Pulmonary Thromboemboli” and “Atherosclerotic and Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease,” according to the report.

2020

Jan. 26, 2020

Kauai police serve a search warrant on a rented vehicle and condo they were renting in Princeville, a resort town on Kauai’s north shore.

Jan. 30, 2020

Lori Vallow fails to comply with a court order to produce her children before authorities in Madison County on Jan. 30, authorities say.

Feb. 20, 2020

Lori Vallow is arrested on a warrant issued in Madison County, Idaho, and held on $5 million bail, Kauai police said at the time. She was ultimately returned to Idaho. 

In February, Rexburg police said they “strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee’s lives are in danger.”

Police said Vallow and Chad Daybell, who was her new husband at the time, lied about the children’s whereabouts and even about their existence. Daybell allegedly told one person that Vallow had no kids, and Vallow allegedly told another person that her daughter had died more than a year earlier.

Vallow is charged with two felony counts of desertion and nonsupport of dependent children, Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood said in a prepared statement at the time. She’s also charged with obstructing a police investigation, asking a friend to lie to police on her behalf and contempt of court for failing to follow an order to produce the kids.

June 9, 2020

Investigators discover human remains while searching Chad Daybell’s property.

June 10, 2020

Relatives announce that the remains found on Chad Daybell’s Idaho property were those of Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow. JJ’s grandfather, Larry Woodcock, tells the Post Register in Idaho Falls that “both children are no longer with us.”

Prosecutors charge Daybell with destroying or concealing two sets of human remains. A judge sets bail at $1 million.

In court documents at the time, Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood said he believes Daybell either concealed or helped hide the remains knowing that they were about to be used as evidence in court. Wood said the first body was hidden or destroyed sometime on or after Sept. 8 — the last known day that Tylee was seen — and the second on or after Sept. 22, the last known day that JJ was seen.

June 29, 2020

Prosecutors hit Lori Vallow Daybell with new felony charges alleging she had had conspired with her new husband to hide or destroy the kids’ bodies.

Court documents suggest JJ was buried in a pet cemetery on Chad Daybell’s property and that Tylee’s remains were dismembered and burned.

Rexburg police Lt. Ron Ball wrote at the time that Alex Cox also was involved in the conspiracy to hide the kids’ remains by taking JJ to Daybell’s property the day the child was buried and by later telling police the boy was visiting his grandparents in Louisiana.

2021

May 24, 2021

Grand jury convenes and returns indictments against Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell on multiple counts each of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception, first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder related to the deaths of Vallow Daybell’s two children. 

  • Image 1 of 2

    Chad Daybell enters the courtroom during his preliminary hearing in Fremont County on Monday, August 3, 2020. (Post Register/ John Roark, POOL)(I)

  • Image 2 of 2

    Lori Vallow glances at the camera during her March 6, 2020 hearing in Rexburg, Idaho. At her right is defense attorney Edwina Elcox. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool)(AP)

Daybell also faces a first-degree murder charge for the death of Tammy Daybell, and two counts of insurance fraud. Vallow was also hit with a grand theft charge related to the Social Security benefits for her children, according to court papers shared online by EastIdahoNews.com. 

May 26, 2021

Chad Daybell makes his initial appearance in court for his latest charges – and appeared to smile and laugh as the judge asked if he could hear him. He waived a formal reading of his indictment and was not offered bail. His official arraignment is scheduled for the morning of June 9. 

Lori Vallow Daybell was also scheduled to make her initial appearance, but the hearing was cut short due to “exigent circumstances” brought to the judge beforehand, the jurist told the court. 

Chad Daybell laughs during court hearing
(Magistrate Court of the Seventh Circuit)

May 27, 2021

Lori Vallow Daybell is deemed mentally unfit for trial, according to multiple local news outlets. 

Chad Daybell is declared not competent to stand trial in Idaho, according to an order filed in a Fremont, Idaho, County court. The Idaho Statesman reports Daybell needs restorative treatment and must be returned to competency before her criminal case in Idaho can move forward. The order notes that prosecutors are contesting the outcome and a hearing will be needed.

Investigators also recommend Vallow Daybell face an additional criminal charge in suburban Phoenix in the 2019 killing of her estranged husband.

Fox News’ Paul Best contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press. 

If you’ve got a tip, you can reach Stephanie Pagones at [email protected]

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